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Nature’s joints

Bill Buford, writing in the New Yorker (Dec. 3, 2007), notes that the American versions of two books about meat don’t contain the same diagrams of  cut-up animals:

What none of these writers acknowledges is probably something that all of them discovered right before their books were published: that there is no universal, accepted practice for cutting up an animal, that it has always been nationally and sometimes regionally determined, and that there is not, therefore, a universal set of butcher’s terms that can be translated from one language to another. Maybe, in this respect, Fearnley-Whittingstall’s instructions for butchering a piece of lamb are the most sensible after all: the only way you’ll learn is by hacking into it, and so you may as well brave the mess.

So much for Socrates’ admonition to carve nature at its joints…
[Tags: bill_buford meat taxonomy plato socrates everything_is_miscellaneous ]

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